This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the number of big game applications for the 2021 season is the highest ever, and now a new record.

Elk, mule deer, moose, some of the best big game hunting in North America is right here in Colorado.

“The state is attractive for hunting because we have great wildlife resources. We have very strong wildlife populations, we have a variety of the big game species you can hunt,” Jason Clay, CPW spokesman said.

Over the years though, fewer folks were heading to the high country in pursuit of game, so that is why the number of 2020 applications for hunting licenses came as a bit of a surprise to CPW. “It’s another record year,” Clay said.

In 2020, 650,000 big game applications were submitted, breaking the previous record. In 2021, 685,000 big game applications were submitted.

“The record visitation, the record usage of our outdoors, I don’t know if it was shocking,” Clay said.

But it was welcome as hunting license fees pay for the bulk of non-hunting activities like preservation, search and rescue, and non-game species care.

“Between fishing, hunting and wildlife watching that is about $5 billion worth of economic impact each year,” Clay said.

More Coloradans are spending more time in the outdoors as a reaction to statewide lockdowns, which include folks who take to the field to pursue game.